Regal Cinemas: Are all locations closing because of James Bond?
While it’s disappointing to see so many highly-anticipated movies being pushed back until 2021, movie theaters worldwide have a lot more to worry about. With only Wonder Woman 1984 on the theatrical release schedule for 2020, movie theaters like Regal Cinemas are deciding if they can survive until the latest DC movie comes out.
However, Regal parent company Cineworld has announced they are considering shutting down movie theaters until further notice in both the U.S. and UK after No Time to Die was delayed until 2021. Considering Cineworld is the biggest theater company in the UK and Regal is the biggest theater company in the U.S., this is a troubling sign for the future of movie theaters.
Is Bond to blame for Cineworld’s closure?
Thursday, October 1st brought news that Bond 25, No Time to Die was being pushed from its November release date to April 2021. The delay comes after Christopher Nolan’s Tenet, which was supposed to be the movie to bring people back to theaters, brought in only $40 million dollars in the U.S.
A large part of the box office disappointment stems from three of the largest U.S. movie markets — NYC, LA, and San Francisco — remaining dark because of coronavirus restrictions. Even Regal Cinemas hasn’t been able to open most of their locations in these three markets.
After Tenet’s failure, most blockbuster movies slated for 2020 have pushed themselves until 2021. The only three major releases still on the calendar for 2020 are Disney-Pixar’s Soul & Warner Bros.’ Dune and Wonder Woman 1984. When movie-goeres are already weary of theaters because of coronavirus, having no new movies on the slate deteriorates people from wanting to spend the money.
Could these closures be permanent?
In a tweet from October 4th, Cineworld said they “are considering the temporary closure of our U.K. and US cinemas,” but have yet to make a decision one way or another. But some say these closures could become permanent.
The first half of 2020 alone saw Cineworld report a $1.6 billion loss worldwide. During their earnings call in September, CEO Mooky Greidinger made it clear there was “no certainty” about how COVID-19 could affect Regal Cinemas and its over 500 locations further.
Right now, Cineworld has a waiver from its lenders on its loans that will keep the company afloat until the end of the year. But if the company cannot either get a regular stream of revenue back or renegotiate a deal with its lenders, the results could be dire.
Unlike AMC though, Greidinger refuses to embrace a non-traditional theatrical release window. “Our policy regarding the theatrical window remains unchanged as an important part of our business model, and we will continue to only show movies that respect it.” As a result, movies like Bill and Ted 3 and Trolls: World Tour are not allowed to be shown in Cineworld & Regal Cinemas locations.
If Cineworld were to close permanently, over 5,000 jobs would be at stake in the UK alone, let alone its thousands of U.S. employees. As a last-ditch effort, Cineworld is petitioning the UK government, specifically Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Secretary of State for Entertainment & Media Oliver Dowden about how “unviable” the cinema industry is now, hoping they can get assistance.
While we don’t know the full details of these closures yet, a source tells Deadline Regal Cinemas is looking to only close fifty to sixty locations that are low-profiting. Otherwise, locations will just change to only offering weekend showtimes. When Regal and Cineworld make an official announcement, we’ll update you here.